The construction industry is historically late to adopt technologies, but it seems, as of late, that there have been all kinds of amazing technological advances in the industry, making it inevitable that at least a few will stick. While some of these advances are still being tested and evolving, others are slowly starting to infiltrate job sites and make a huge impact, whether it’s labor cost savings, energy savings, time savings, or creates a more sustainable end product.
This infographic below was created by Gutter Masters, an Australian manufacturer and installer of guttering, downpipes, and fascia covers, and gives a great and visual summary of some of the technologies and techniques that you may be seeing on your upcoming job sites.
Below the infographic, you’ll find many articles that we have written about some of these products and other related technological advances. Enjoy!
3D Printing Articles by Construction Junkie
3D printed construction has been on top of the news the past few years, but we have yet to truly see many real world applications of the process. Last year, Dubai unveiled a completed 3D printed office building, which they say was built in only 19 days, but news has been pretty slow until the world’s first 3D printed bridge was completed recently.
Dubai is no stranger to doing historic things in the construction industry, especially since it houses the World’s Tallest Building, the Burj Khalifa. This time, their putting themselves back into the news with the Word’s first completely 3D printed office building.
Up until now everything that has been 3D printed for construction use has been done so in a lab and sent out to a job site and been assembled by humans. The makers of MX3D are on the cutting edge of autonomous 3D printing on location.
3D printing has been around for several years, but, up until recently, it has not infiltrated the construction industry. China has printed a few buildings and a 3D printed house in the Netherlands is currently under construction, as well. Now, the United States is getting into the 3D building mix...
Other Interesting Construction Technological Advances
Arches have been used throughout the centuries, but they have always required large amounts of form work (or a master mason). Now, at least when it comes to tunneling, arches require one of the largest machines in the world. The Zipper truck system, known as Arch Lock, is basically a mobile arch form work that, when used with precast concrete wedges, creates an instantly strong system.
Tablets have been finding their way into construction Project Managers' hands for a while now. With applications like Bluebeam, ProCore, and PunchPro, the use of iPads and tablets have become more common place and necessary. Currently, many Project Managers have a laptop or desktop PC and then carry an iPad for punch list during site visits.
As 3D printed buildings and structures continue to rise in popularity, other on-site robots are hoping to make a name for themselves as well. Long held to being indoors and in controlled environments, robots are now being designed by engineers to endure dynamic situations in the field, to deal with wind movement, bouncing, and other situations.
Hard hats have been around for over a hundred years now, but besides their higher frequency of use, they haven’t changed much. Well, it’s 2015 now and also the year that Back to the Future predicted that we’d be flying around on hover boards, so someone has decided to make something of the dusty, old, worn out hard hat.
There are a ton of tools on any given job site, which makes it close to impossible to be able to monitor where they all are. Not much can hold up job site progress more than rechargeable batteries going missing or not being charged. To solve that issue, tool manufacturing giant Dewalt is soon releasing a line of Bluetooth enabled rechargeable batteries.
If given a choice between being on a roof in the summer or in the middle of a dessert, I’m not sure which one I would choose. Find out what a team of Australian researches have come up with to keep roofs cooler than the hot summer air around them...
Unless you constantly work with 2D drawings, it’s extremely difficult for someone to determine what the final product will look like, which leads to tons of last second changes and a mad dash to finish on time. While Revit’s three and four-dimensional drawings are a step in the right direction, Trimble and Microsoft have an idea to get those models out of the computer and onto the job site.
Back in late 2012, a team of Dutch scientists began work on a new type of concrete additive. All concrete additives modify the physical properties of the concrete in some way, whether by making the concrete harder, set faster, or more resistant to cracking. However, what the Dutch team set out to do was to make a concrete that was "alive;"
With the recent release of Avengers 2, there’s no better time to discuss the world’s first bionic suit made specifically with the construction industry in mind. Unfortunately, unlike the suit Iron Man wears, this one doesn’t allow you to fly or shoot beams out of your hands, but it does show some unbelievable upside for the productivity of a manual laborer.
Remember back to when you were a child, playing on your living room floor with hundreds of multi-colored Legos littering the area around you as you attempted to assemble your dream house. Now, imagine doing that as an adult, but for real. That’s exactly what the inventors of Kite Bricks hope to accomplish.
Caterpillar is not resting on what made it successful in the past anymore and probably for good reason. The equipment manufacturing giant recently bought Yard Club, a heavy construction equipment sharing company, looking to take advantage of the recently popularized sharing economy. Earlier this month, Caterpillar invested $2 million in Fastbrick Robotics, an Australian robotic technology company.
Augmented and Virtual Reality has always been designated for large headsets. Even with recent developments in the construction industry, like Microsoft Hololens and the DAQRI Smart Helmet, if you want to experience AR, you have to get used to wearing something you’re not used to around a job site. As cool as both of those technologies are, it seems that the ole trusty smartphones and tablets have been overlooked. A Danish BIM company has developed a smartphone and tablet application that leaves the headsets behind.
Just last November, a massive Five-Alarm fire rocked a multi-story residential building that was almost 80% complete at the time, completely destroying the project. This month, yet another multi-story residential tower that was almost complete caught fire, making it the 5th in 5 year to suffer the same fate. At least 3 of the previous 3 fires have been ruled as arson but, up to this point, no arrests for any of the previous arsons have been made.
Buildings are demolished all the time in order to make way for new construction. The buildings that are demolished have usually lived out their useful life and are no longer functional. Recently a demolition video resurfaced, which shows a 27 story building in China being imploded. The strange thing is that, since it was finished in 1999, the building had never even been used.
In January of 2017, OSHA released a final rule which greatly reduced the allowable exposure to beryllium, a mineral that can cause deadly lung disease. While not as commonly encountered in the construction industry as other substances that cause terrible lung diseases, like crystalline silica and asbestos, beryllium is linked to a disease called chronic beryllium disease, which kills around 100 people each year. It’s commonly found in coal slag, which is used for sandblasting. According to the New York Times, OSHA estimates that 11,500 construction workers would be affected by OSHA’s reduced exposure limit.
There are a lot of people that would be pretty unhappy with whoever tears down a 98 foot tall, 105 year old tree to make room for a building expansion. In order for most projects to work financially, however, many trees are uprooted and replaced with smaller trees. That’s not what happened with what is believed to be the state of Idaho’s largest sequoia tree, however.
Many contractors and repair technicians live out of their truck and Milwaukee Tool knows this. That’s why they’ve just released an M12 and M18 battery charger that plugs into the c12V DC outlet in your truck or van! As added security, the charger will automatically shut down if it senses that your vehicle’s battery is getting too low. Smart and ultra-convenient.
We know a lot of you out there could use this charger, so we teamed up with Milwaukee to give YOU the chance to WIN one! There are 4 ways to enter below!
As recently highlighted by several multi-story building fires, contractors should always be prepared in the event a fire starts on a job site. There have been dozens multi-story building fires in the past few years and many were started when the building was topped out. In most cases, the project was completely destroyed, leaving developers and owners to deal with years of delays from insurance claims. A massive five-alarm fire at an Oakland construction site is one of the more recent examples.
It’s pretty amazing all of the things that smartphones can do right now. While some wish phones would go back to “just making dang blasted phone calls, like the good ole days,” it’s clear that phone’s will always be more than that moving forward. Through apps and other attachments, phones can now turn into a thermal imagine camera, an x-ray vision scanner to see what’s behind walls, a laser measure, and now an augmented reality tape measure.
In a year that OSHA can’t seem to enforce any new rules, it appears to have found a way to remove a rule from its books. As announced last week, OSHA has removed monorail hoists from Subpart CC – Cranes and Derricks in Construction. Employers are still required to follow other OSHA regulations regarding the hoists, but this rule should help clear up some inconsistencies.